Sunday December 17th 2017

Unemployment Rate Trends Higher

Unemployment Rate Graph
Unemployment Rate
Free News Press – The U.S. unemployment rate shifted direction and began to rise again in May. The U.S. Department of Labor said that there was little change in the number of people employed in the private sector.

The economy only produced 69,000 jobs in May, down from 77,000 in April. Economists had expected the private sector to produce between 150,000 and 175,000 jobs, but that did not materialize.

The bad economic news sent stocks into a tailspin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 274.88 points (-2.22%) to 12,188.57. Markets opened lower and continued to decline throughout the day.

In their Household Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the civilian labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 63.8 percent in May, offsetting a decline of the same amount in April. The ratio between the employed and the population edged higher to 58.6 percent.

Hourly earnings increased 0.1 percent and the average workweek fell slightly to 34.4 hours.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis tried to put a positive spin on the negative numbers Friday. “This month we saw strong growth in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade,” Solis said. “Also, growth in manufacturing continues to trend up, with nearly 500,000 jobs added over the last 28 months — the strongest growth in manufacturing since April 1995.”

“Slowing GDP growth, plunging consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment claims, and now another dismal jobs report all stand as a harsh indictment of the President’s handling of the economy,” Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in his blog on Friday. “It is now clear to everyone that President Obama’s policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America’s middle class.”

President Barack Obama said that more work needs to be done. “I sent Congress a jobs bill last September full of the kinds of bipartisan ideas that would have put our fellow Americans back to work and helped reinforce our economy against those outside shocks,” the President said in his radio address on Saturday.

“Since then, Congress has only passed a few parts of that jobs bill, like a tax cut that’s allowing working Americans to keep more of your paycheck every week. That was important. But Congress hasn’t acted on enough of the other ideas in that bill that would make a difference and help create jobs right now.”

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